Column – OPP Search Warrant Points to Breach of Trust Charges

March 31, 2014

By Jim McDonell

March may have come in like a lamb at Queen’s Park, but it certainly went out like a lion.  All hell broke loose this past Thursday when a judge ordered the release of documents by the OPP anti-rackets divisions.  The search warrant application alleges that senior staff in former Dalton McGuinty’s office allowed a person who was not a government employee to have access to 24 computers in the Premier’s office between February and March 2013 and wipe clean the computer hard drives.  These are still allegations and have not had a chance to be tested in court, but the evidence is alarming.

Her first action is one that we have seen before, is to threaten to sue Tim Hudak and the PC party for repeating the obvious, that she was in charge and must take responsibility for what happens on her watch.  The Liberal government’s version of the gas plant cancellation fiasco is truly testing their credibility.  They claim that with all the legal advice available to them, no one ever stopped to ask what the cost would be, which the Auditor-General has pegged to be more than $1 billion.  Then after years of blocking access to the documents, releasing what has been proven to be incomplete documents, the resignation of the Premier and Minister of Energy, the Privacy Commissioner’s report documenting deleted emails, the OPP investigation and now the erasure of dozens of computers in the Premier’s office.  It brings to mind an old saying; Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

This was not the only threat the PC party received from the government in March.  We have been asking for the three year spending forecast, that the government was required to release in the fall economic statement.  They refused to do so and still claim to be on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-2018.  Our finance critic, Vic Fedeli found in their tens of thousands of released documents, a letter forwarded last spring to the government from the Ministry of Finance, identifying a $4.5 billion hole in their forecast.  Again their first line of defense was to file a contempt motion against Vic for releasing the truth.  The Speaker has since ruled against the motion, but the trend is clear, when caught doing something illegal or unethical, their first action is to threaten the messenger.  This is not a government that one can trust.

With all this going on, it must not take away from our fight to keep the Kemptville Agricultural College open.  I have been working with key stakeholders in the region and with the other eastern Ontario PC MPP’s to have the closures reversed.  The two neighbouring colleges were finally asked to review the possible amalgamation of the campus, but they were given no advance notice and now must have time to do a fair and complete study of the situation.  This requires that the government issue an immediate delay of the closure for an additional year so that first year students can attend this fall and be allowed to complete the two year diploma program.  Anything less would mean that the work being done by Algonquin and St. Lawrence Colleges is a complete waste of time and is just another empty promise that this Liberal government knows will lead to their closures.  We need the people of Eastern Ontario to write the Premier/Minister of Agriculture, demanding the two year moratorium on the closures of both Alfred and Kemptville Colleges.  If we are to have any chance at meeting her early March challenge at the St. Albert Cheese factory to increase the number of people in the Agri-Food industry by 200,000 workers, than we need to keep the proven courses offered by the Kemptville and Alfred Colleges in Eastern Ontario.